Okay, things got a bit crazy for a while. Time to get back to Q&A. As a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and First Aid Instructor, I often get asked lots of questions. Here are a few of the questions from my most recent CPR & First Aid class.

Q: Will we be doing CPR on each other?
A: No. You only do CPR on someone that is not breathing and has no signs of life. You’ll practice CPR on a manikin that will simulate how it feels to work with a real, unresponsive, non-breathing human.

Q: What if they have a burn and a chemical spill and…
A: Remember, focus on life threats first. C-A-B, Circulation, Airway and Breathing. After that, focus on serious bleeding, shock and spinal injuries. If the bleeding is serious (a lot of blood or it’s arterial and spurting), you need to rapidly apply direct pressure and get some help. Most of the what-if questions can be resolved if you remember to focus on life threatening injuries first.

Q: What should I have in my first aid kit?
A: It depends. If you have rapid, easy access to EMS and hospital services, maybe just a bare minimum. If you’re in a remote location, probably more. At a minimum: barriers (gloves & CPR ventilation barrier), sterile dressings (gauze pads), adhesive tape or roller bandage to secure the dressings in place.

While not a question that was asked, it seems like in training many people think they have to do everything. If there is something life threatening, call for help (dial 9-1-1 in the US). If the person is alert and responsive, have them help. If they’re bleeding, have them apply direct pressure to the wound while you get a first aid kit and call for help (if necessary). If you’re trained and bystanders aren’t, have the bystanders call for help or fetch the first aid kit. You can also direct bystanders to do things, like put on gloves and apply direct pressure.